36 hours in Copenhagen

The 17th century waterfront of Nyhavn. Photo credit: Caroline Rhoads

I recently had the privilege to go and visit an old friend who was studying abroad in Copenhagen. Not quite sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by the lively capital of Denmark. Whether you like to travel for food, nightlife or daytime attractions, Copenhagen provides it all and the quaint capital can be thoroughly explored in just 36 hours.

The 17th century waterfront of Nyhavn. Photo credit: Caroline Rhoads
The 17th century waterfront of Nyhavn. Photo credit: Caroline Rhoads

Friday evening

Food in Copenhagen was never disappointing, but fresh off of your flight grab a burrito from Barburrito, a Mexican fusion restaurant conveniently located in the city centre. Don’t forget to order one of their delicious margaritas and stick around for a bit, as the restaurant turns into a lively bar at night.

Friday night

If you are in the mood for a fun, themed night out, stop by the club Nightfever to experience Copenhagen’s only 80s and 90s themed bar. Alternatively, if you are feeling a bit fancier, stop by the Hive, Copenhagen’s club to be seen at, conveniently located across the street from Barburrito.

I preferred the bar Den Glade Gris, however, which translates from Danish as ‘The Happy Pig’. With a student-heavy crowd and multiple dance floors, it’s a great place for a more relaxed night out with a younger crowd.

Saturday brunch

Stop by Paludan Bogcafe for a low-price brunch – the cafe is a literary haven on a street lined with used bookstores. The decorations are made of books and if one particularly catches your eye, they are all for sale.

Saturday afternoon

After brunch, go on a free walking tour or pay for a canal tour and absorb the history of the city, which was originally founded as a Viking fishing village in the 10th century. If you want to see the statue of the Little Mermaid, known as the symbol of the city, make sure to take the canal tour, which makes a stop at the lilliputian statue. Following a tour, walk over to Nyhavn and see the bright picturesque 17th-century waterfront. Afterwards, make your way across the canal to Chritianshavn, where you will be able to find the large commune of Freetown Christiania. Walk around the large green spaces in the community and make sure to get a look at the notorious green light district, but remember that photos are prohibited in the area!

Saturday dinner

After a long day of sightseeing make a stop for dinner at Halifax, which has plenty of great options for handmade burgers with vegetarian choices too. There are several locations across Copenhagen, so you should be able to find one of them near where you are.

Saturday night

On this night you should go out in the meatpacking district, Copenhagen’s cool artistic district full of galleries and hip bars. Stop by the small gay bar Jolene’s, or if you are wanting a bigger nightclub experience go to the giant nightclub KB3.

Sunday morning

Before you leave Copenhagen, make sure to grab a pastry from the bakery Lagkagehuset. The kanelsengle, which is similar to a cinnamon roll, is one of the best pastries I’ve ever had. After that, hop on the super easy metro system to get back to the airport, only a short ride of 15 minutes from the city centre.


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